Many taxpayers may need to take out money early from their Individual Retirement Account or retirement plan. Doing so, however, can trigger an additional tax on early withdrawals. They would owe this tax on top of other income tax they may have to pay. Here are a few key points to know:

  • Early withdrawals. An early withdrawal is taking a distribution from an IRA or retirement plan before reaching age 59½.
  • Additional tax. Taxpayers who took early withdrawals from an IRA or retirement plan must report them when they file their tax return. They may owe income tax on the amount plus an additional 10 percent tax if it was an early withdrawal.
  • Nontaxable withdrawals. The additional 10 percent tax doesn't apply to nontaxable withdrawals, such as contributions that taxpayers paid tax on before they put them into the plan.
  • Rollover. A rollover happens when someone takes cash or other assets from one plan and puts it in another plan. They normally have 60 days to complete a rollover to make it tax-free.
  • Exceptions. There are many exceptions to the additional 10-percent tax. Some of the rules for retirement plans are  different from the rules for IRAs.

The Internal Revenue Service advised tax professionals and taxpayers today that pre-paying 2018 state and local real property taxes in 2017 may be tax deductible under certain circumstances. 

The IRS has received a number of questions from the tax community concerning the deductibility of prepaid real property taxes. In general, whether a taxpayer is allowed a deduction for the prepayment of state or local real property taxes in 2017 depends on whether the taxpayer makes the payment in 2017 and the real property taxes are assessed prior to 2018. A prepayment of anticipated real property taxes that have not been assessed prior to 2018 are not deductible in 2017. State or local law determines whether and when a property tax is assessed, which is generally when the taxpayer becomes liable for the property tax imposed. 

The following examples illustrate these points.

Example 1: Assume County A assesses property tax on July 1, 2017 for the period July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018. On July 31, 2017, County A sends notices to residents notifying them of the assessment and billing the property tax in two installments with the first installment due Sept. 30, 2017 and the second installment due Jan. 31, 2018. Assuming taxpayer has paid the first installment in 2017, the taxpayer may choose to pay the second installment on Dec. 31, 2017, and may claim a deduction for this prepayment on the taxpayer's 2017 return. 

Example 2: County B also assesses and bills its residents for property taxes on July 1, 2017, for the period July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018. County B intends to make the usual assessment in July 2018 for the period July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019. However, because county residents wish to prepay
their 2018-2019 property taxes in 2017, County B has revised its computer systems to accept prepayment of property taxes for the 2018-2019 property
tax year. Taxpayers who prepay their 2018-2019 property taxes in 2017 will not be allowed to deduct the prepayment on their federal tax returns because
the county will not assess the property tax for the 2018-2019 tax year until July 1, 2018.

The IRS reminds taxpayers that a number of provisions remain available this week that could affect 2017 tax bills. Time remains to make charitable
donations. See IR-17-191 for more information. The deadline to make contributions for individual retirement accounts - which can be used by some taxpayers on 2017 tax returns - is the April 2018 tax deadline. 

Taxpayers who are looking for a new job that is in the same line of work may be able to deduct some job-hunting expenses on their federal income tax return, even if they don't get a new job.

Here are some important facts to know about deducting costs related to job searches:

  1. Same Occupation. Expenses are tax deductible when the job search is in a taxpayer's current line of work.
  2. Résumé Costs. Costs associated in preparing and mailing a résumé are tax deductible.
  3. Travel Expenses. Travel costs to look for a new job are deductible. Expenses including transportation, meals and lodging are deductible if the trip is mainly to look for a new job. Some costs are still deductible even if looking for a job is not the main purpose of the trip.
  4. Placement Agency. Job placement or employment agency fees are deductible.
  5. Reimbursed Costs. If an employer or other party reimburses search related expenses, like agency fees, they are not deductible.
  6. Schedule A. Report job search expenses on Schedule A of a 1040 tax return and claim them as miscellaneous deductions. The total miscellaneous deductions cannot be more than two percent of adjusted gross income.

Taxpayers can't deduct these expenses if they:

  • * Are looking for a job in a new occupation,
  • * Had a substantial break between the ending of their last job and looking for a new one, or
  • * Are looking for a job for the first time.

Summertime is a time of year when people rent out their property. In addition to the standard clean up and maintenance, owners need to be aware of the tax implications of residential and vacation home rentals.

Receiving money for the use of a dwelling also used as a taxpayer's personal residence generally requires reporting the rental income on a tax return. It also means certain expenses become deductible to reduce the total amount of rental income that's subject to tax.

Dwelling Unit. This may be a house, an apartment, condominium, mobile home, boat, vacation home or similar property. It's possible to use more than one dwelling unit as a residence during the year.

Used as a Home. The dwelling unit is considered to be used as a residence if the taxpayer uses it for personal purposes during the tax year for more than the greater of: 14 days or 10% of the total days rented to others at a fair rental price. Rental expenses cannot be more than the rent received.

Personal Use. Personal use means use by the owner, owner's family, friends, other property owners and their families. Personal use includes anyone paying less than a fair rental price.

Divide Expenses. Special rules generally apply to the rental of a home, apartment or other dwelling unit that is used by the taxpayer as a residence during the taxable year. Usually, rental income must be reported in full, and any expenses need to be divided between personal and business purposes. Special deduction limits apply.

How to Report. Use Schedule E to report rental income and rental expenses on Supplemental Income and Loss. Rental income may also be subject to Net Investment Income Tax . Use Schedule A to report deductible expenses for personal use on Itemized Deductions. This includes such costs as mortgage interest, property taxes and casualty losses.

Special Rules. If the dwelling unit is rented out fewer than 15 days during the year, none of the rental income is reportable and none of the rental expenses are deductible. Find out more about these rules; see Publication 527 , Residential Rental Property (Including Rental of Vacation Homes).

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